Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Read our patriotic stories of American courage sent in to us by Marines and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter #75

"The American Revolution remains unique in human history: a revolution -- and a nation -- founded on a moral principle, the principle of individual rights."
--Michael Berliner

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Now on to your outstanding stories.

Sgt Grit,
My son is an LCpl 0311 in 3/6 and is part of one of the three infantry battalions in country. My son commented to me yesterday during an infrequent phone call that he and his buddies feel that they are forgotten over there. Our successes in Iraq should be lauded but we can't forget that 9/11 originated in the terrorist training camps of Afghanistan. The bad guys are getting stronger over there since we took our foot off their throat and, as the 1st national election in that country approaches, things are heating up.

We would definitely appreciate some more gear focused on Afghanistan, particularly some bumper stickers.
Thanks and Semper Fi,
GySgt Steve Garrett (USMC Ret)

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of these United States are covenants we have made not only with ourselves, but with all of mankind. Our founding documents proclaim to the world that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few, they are the universal right of all God's children."
--Ronald Reagan (1991)

I have to say the note from Dianne Kummings was inspiring for me. My husband was recently called from the reserves to active duty to be deployed overseas. I was heartbroken. He is not due to ship out until December or January, the dates are not known at this time. We have just recently had an addition to our family in April. She is a beautiful baby girl with a happy heart & wonderful smile. He is worried she will not remember her daddy. He will miss so much of her 1st's. At least we have time to prepare, thank goodness. I will pray for his safety everyday & wait for that day when he can come home to his family who loves him. This is all so new to me but I will be strong for my family. It is nice to know I am not alone & not the only one going through this. I am so proud of my husband & I am proud to be a Marines wife!
Thank you, God Bless

Sgt. Grit
I feel that with the men and women fighting over seas for our freedom, and the freedom of the nations we're fighting for. We can do our part as Vets, Family, Friends, and supporters of our fathers, husbands, brothers, sons, grandsons, mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and grand daughters who are currently stationed over seas. We can do our part by going to and help reach the goal of sending 1 million thank you letters over seas. New to sending letters this site now wants to send enjoyed cd's to the soldiers, seeing how many of them are being sent on a second and third tour of Iraq and Afghanistan.

please put this information in your weekly newsletter so we can help out the men and women who are fighting even more.
-Steven Garelik

Over the 4th of July, As a Marine wife-to-be, I saw my Marine let a tear out for his brother and sister's who couldn't be with their family and friends during this holiday. Our man and women fought hard over there in Iraq, they let freedom ring in their own special way.
a marine wife-to-be

It appears that we keep hearing the name Syria and Terrorists constantly lately. From what I understand, many are attempting to slip across the border between Syria and Iraq. I think perhaps we need to give Syria the same ultimatum that Saddam received. Since the Syrian Leadership is not making any effort to curtail this type of activity, perhaps a hard slap across the mouth while we have the forces there could do what politicians have failed to do. Anyhow, may God bless the men and women who serve this great nation of ours. May he also bless and comfort those who have lost loved ones in this War! Semper Fi!
M.P. Herrin
MSgt. USMC (Ret)

Hello Sgt. Grit,
Thank you for this newsletter. I look forward every week to reading the thoughts and memories of my brothers and sisters of our beloved Corps. Many times my eyes have perspired a bit when I read these messages, but none has moved me more than Maj. Bresnahan's "Thank You To Vietnam Vets"

It's hard for me to believe that it's been 35 years since I came home from Nam, but the memories of the disappointment that most of us felt by our "welcome" by the general public and even some friends and family members still hurt to this day. I left active duty to go to a large university in 1970 and had to put up with the protests and shut-downs on campus accompanied with stupid comments from people who had every right to express their opposition to the war but chose to vilify those who fought instead of placing the blame on the politicians who sent us. With a wife and a baby to support while I was in school, I did not have the time nor the inclination to debate with them, but I left no doubt with those that I had significant contact that I was (and would always be) a Marine proud of my service and even more proud of the finest warriors with whom I had served. The courage and sacrifice of those young Marines and Corpsmen cannot be legitimately questioned by anyone.

Thank God that the public's attitude seems to have changed with the times. So, thank you Maj. Bresnahan for your kind words and thoughts, and thank you and the fine Marines with whom you serve for the outstanding job you are doing. Your courage and professionalism uphold our honor and traditions paid for by our heroes that did not make it back.
We are immensely proud of you.
Semper Fi!
"Augie" 0802 RVN '68-'69, 2/5 & 2/11

Gordon Sends ,If none of the above works in a op, call in an air strike and then afterwards the UH-1E's arrive and the crew chiefs and right gunner will make things real right , real fast!!!! You buy, we fly, Krusty

Wanted to thank all those who have sacrificed and all those who are there serving now and all those who in the future will give some or all....freedom has always come with a price, even the freedom to protest against freedom fighters-they have never giving so they don’t know --our hearts and prays are with you. Job well done and come home safe and soon.

Happy 4th to all and enjoy but remember.........Krusty

I have heart trouble and high blood pressure. Every time I start to talk about or think about The Marine Corps, My Country and My God, my heart swells up and gets stuck in my throat. Sometimes It swells so big it squeezes water out of my eyes. My blood pressure also rises when I think of people like Micheal Moore (I don't care if I spelled it wrong) who vomit anti American trash out of their suck. It should be a real clue if your country's enemies likes what you do.

God bless the Marine Corps and God bless America,
"Bo",1986-1992 Wpns 1/5, 81's, Semper Fi.

A note back to Major Bresnahan from this Vietnam Vet............. What you are seeing we had already noticed during Gulf War I..... .......and I, at least, came to feel that what we endured during our war had served to remind Americans that blaming the war on the warrior was downright despicable. As if some 18 year old kid from Detroit, or some 19 year old farm boy was responsible for a war that so many people didn't like. Was it all worth it? Yes and No, unfortunately. I do recall talking about this point to a number of other Viet vets back then and we all agreed that the support our troops were now getting was a very good thing and it went a LONG way in making up to us what we'd been denied - Respect.

We are all very pleased that our younger brothers are reaping the benefits of our service. YOU don't have to thank're out there walking in our boots and your service today, as we served then, is thanks enough. I've been personally involved with providing moral support to returning Marine casualties and their families. We're the ones thanking you for filling our boots so d-mned well.
Dr. Peter W. Schlesiona, CFE

"Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!"
-Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC

Sgt. Grit:
It was outstanding for Rich Kiene Jr. to post the appropriate addresses for Marines and those of us with Marine and Other Service time to write to obtain their complete service records and awards.

There is, however, a problem for those Marines, such as members of Force Recon, who participated in overseas covert operations for which they received awards. If your personnel file was security "flagged" in the overseas service and awards sections, those flags referred people with the appropriate access to your file in the secure vault in the Pentagon where the Navy and Marine Corps maintained those classified records. That vault, with all of its records, was destroyed by the Pentagon aircraft strike on 9/11. You may now only have the memories.
Semper Fi,
Don Kaag
LTC, Armor, AUS(Ret.)
(...and former Sgt. and Cpt., USMC)

Since subscribing to this newsletter and the Grit Bulletin Board, I've "met" guys who were at the same base as me in Japan (Camp Gifu); came back on the same ship from Korea; or were in either of these two countries at the same time as I was. One was even billeted in the same group of tarpaper shacks at the 3rd Marine Division Headquarters that served as barracks. We shared stories of liberties.

In fact, a bunch of us through the efforts of Dr. Phil Hill and others will be getting together in November in Charleston, SC to exchange sea stories and other lies. I've even made contact with a Marine brother (Tom Masles) who briefly was in one of the high school English classes I was teaching at Fenton High School in Bensenville, IL. Tom saw one of my "contributions" here and wrote to Don wondering if I was that former English teacher who was a Marine. I guess my point is, that our Brotherhood extends to all ages and spans many years.
Semper Fi,
Bob Rader #1405534

I thought the American public learned from the way Vietnam veterans were received at home, that they would not allow these despicable things to happen again. Make your voice heard! Do NOT tolerate this type of treatment for our HEROES who laid it on the line and paid a heavy price for our country! Norb

Think about the Seattle area -- Bainbridge Island to be exact -- and you think scenic views and liberal-minded tolerance.

At least the killer views are still there.

The bucolic island's deep reputation for civility got a gut check this week during the annual Grand Old Fourth of July celebration.

That's when Jason Gilson, a 23-year-old military veteran who served in Iraq, marched in the local event. He wore his medals with pride and carried a sign that said "Veterans for Bush."

Walking the parade route with his mom, younger siblings and politically conservative friends, Jason heard words from the crowd that felt like a thousand daggers to the heart.

"Baby killer!"



To understand why the reaction of strangers hurt so much, you must read what the young man had written in a letter from Iraq before he was disabled... Read the rest of the story here:

Sgt. Grit,
I just wanted to say SEMPER FI to all my Marine brothers and sisters as we all celebrate another Fourth with people in harms way. May they ALL come home safe and SOON with a job well done.

I had the privilege of serving from 66-70 in the GREATEST group on the face of the earth - U S M C -

On a more somber note I would ask for everyone's prayers for a safe return of on Bill Bradley a former Marine lost 9 April in the convoy that was attacked in Iraq. Bill worked for KBR and has not been heard from since. God Bless & SEMPER FI

Mark M. Hynes
Sgt. USMC 66 to 70
Sgt at Arms MCL Detachment 798

Sgt Grit: i did not have the honor of serving in the marine corps, i was, however, raised in the old corps and thought of myself as a marine until i entered air force ROTC at 18. My father entered PLCs{platoon leaders class} in 1939, i have a picture of him in puttees and campaign hat at Quantico. he served with the 3rd div as a tanker and then scout [predecessor of recon] on Bougainville; became an air observer and ended the war spotting Japanese positions for air and naval gunfire. he was CO of the marine detachment on the USS Topeka off china when I was born; he was XO of the 8th tank bn at camp lejeune; CO, 1st Amtrac Bn[dismounted] on the imjin river in korea and CO 3rd tank bn, okinawa in the 60's. after donning a purple suit for 2 tours in the pentagon on the joint staff, he retired and taught school here in south carolina for 20 years. as a role model he is impossible to match. the reason i write this is to say, the corps made him and indirectly, me. i feel in good company. i know who my father is, and i have some idea of the values imbued by the marine corps.
i am not worthy to say it but will:
semper fidelis, to all who serve
pete saussy

Been off line for a while so just got around to reading your newsletter 24.6.04.
I was one of those that joined at seventeen, well actually I tried at sixteen but the Chief found out I was sixteen just before the swearing in ceremony. So I waited the few months and then enlisted when I was seventeen. I was home on leave when I turned eighteen and like any good citizen went to the local draft board and I signed for the draft in my Navy dress blues. I was asked why I was signing for the draft when I was already in and I told them that today was my eighteenth birthday and I needed to sign for the draft. I filled out the forms and left.
Three months later I began receiving letters from the draft board about coming in for my physical and I responded to the letter by saying I was in the service already and couldn't make it back to L.A. because I was stationed on the East Coast. Every three months or so I received another letter each progressively more hostile than the other. Finally in the summer of '67 while I am now serving with 1st ANGLICO sub 1, 2nd ROK MARINES Blue Dragon Brigade, Quang Ny Province, RVN my father sent me a letter and inside was a letter from the Draft Board. There it was the "Letter" Greetings from your friends and neighbors... So I took this letter to the First Sergeant and showed it to him. We had this short conversation;
"Jesus doc how long you been in?"
I answered, "Nearly three years, Sergeant."
"Doc, how old are you?
"How old were you when you joined?"
To which I related the I tried when I was sixteen but got caught then joined when I was seventeen story. The First Shirt says, "Let's go see the Lieutenant. To keep the story from getting overly long I'll shorten it here. Because I was attached to 1st ANGLICO from 7th COMM. in Chu Lai I went through the process of chain of command to the LT. Col. with ANGLICO each in the chain of command had the same questions as the First Sergeant. I was then authorized a vehicle and protection to go to Chu Lai to be advised by my parent outfit. Later that afternoon and sixteen miles down Highway 1 in an open jeep I arrived at the BAS and took my draft notice first to the Master Chief, then to the Battalion Doctor, then back through the First Shirt and after a dressing down for missing a button on my utility pants and generally having a dirty uniform, after I washed my face and hands I was allowed to see the Colonel. Where I again went through the exact same conversation as with everyone else that day except that he said, "You're a da** Corporal for Christ Sakes." Then he yelled out for the Sergeant to take my draft notice over to legal. I did an about face and left the Colonel's office and returned to ANGLICO. Well, we stopped for some beer on the way back. I also composed a letter to the Draft Board which I'll never forget. It said simply; To whom it may concern,
Currently serving with 1st Marine Division Republic of Viet Nam, send air fare gladly attend boot camp. I never heard from my draft board again. I got my final discharge papers when my time was up so I guess everything went okay with legal. I didn't get to keep my draft notice either but what the heck small loss in the bigger picture of things.
Proud of my time with the Marines, never went back to the Navy.
Semper Fi!
Homberg, W.R. HM3 USN-R
1st ANGLICO det Sub 1 2nd ROK Marines Blue Dragon Brigade
Quang Ny Province 67, 7th COMM Chu Lai 66-67

I just received word today my nephew was badly burned in combat...face, chest arms...will need corneas operated on. He is being airlifted to Germany for surgery. His name is Ronnie Simpson. He was based in Baghdad and fought in Fallujah, 2nd Mar, 2nd Bat, Weapons Division.

When I read the note posted by the USMC nurse in Germany, it put me on my knees to have that connection with someone who voiced their commitment to our men (even though I do not know this person). Thank you for this site for those of us who must simply wait and pray for our men in combat.

I have a Marine license plate on the front of my car I purchased from you. My father was a Marine in WWII and that experience in his life played a large part in the way I was be the best!

Thank you again for this service to all of us who support our Marines from home.
Betty-Lou Simpson

I watched a news report from Iraq last night by Dan Rather. He reported:

The members of the 2nd Marine Battalion have suffered greatly, losing more men than any other battalion in Iraq. Dan Rather reports their families have gone through their own h-ll during this war.

I watched with interest about our beloved Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice of 30 American heroes. I take Rather with a grain of salt and know darn well that he is whacky, with well documented bizarre behavior over the years.

But nothing prepared me for his closing words of Semper Fi. I'm a tolerant guy but Rather really pissed me off by using the salutation reserved for us Marines. I knew I was pissed when he said those sacred words and I started yelling at the TV.

Marc Tarabour former Sgt of Marines 1964-1968
Not as lean, Just as D-mned Mean, and FOREVER a Marine.

"The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other."
--Ronald Reagan

Sgt. Grit,
I just wanted to thank you for these weekly newsletters. I met my Marine back in December and immediately noticed something so different in him than in any other guy I'd ever dated. We started dating knowing that he was a Marine but I was under the false impression that as a United States Marine Corps Reservists, that he was safe and wouldn't have to go anywhere. Unfortunately this changed in May when he told me they were going to be mobilized...Destination - Iraq. They would leave Alabama on July 6, 2004. I cant begin to tell you how scared and shocked I was. I had a huge choice to make: Continuing loving the most absolutely wonderful thing that God has blessed me with or back down like a scared little girl. When he asked me if I'd be here when he got back, I told him that when I first met him I knew he was a Marine and a Cop and I knew that they were both dangerous jobs and I took him at face value and I wasn't going to leave him hanging. I told him that I would always be there for him no matter where he had to go.

On June 19th his parents and I took him to Tennessee Aquarium. Its his favorite place and he wanted to see it before he left. There at the Aquarium he got down on his knees and proposed. I of course cried and said yes.

Today is July 7th. He left yesterday. I'm sure many of you know how I felt, but I cant even begin to tell you how I felt. I was so scared, and alone. I felt like my best friend was being dragged away from me. He didn't get to spend time with me and his parents yesterday because he was having to do stuff to get the guys ready to go. It was very frustrating to see everyone with their Marines and to not even see yours. He had enough time to run out give me a kiss and bear hug and tell me he loved me and then went running down the hall blowing kisses. It hurt then, but it really hurt when the plane took off and it really sunk in that he was gone.

I don't want him to go....but I realize I cant be selfish....other people need him more than I do.

I have always heard about the Marines and the sacrifices they go through, but you can never understand unless you are right next to one and even then you can only know about = of it.

I am so proud of my fiancé, Corporal Richard K. Maddox, I could just bust. I will be praying for his safe return home to me and I want to say to all the Marines that are already over there, keep up the good work boys!!!! We love you and will never stop supporting you!

Go get em 4th Battalion 14th Marine Regiment Lima Battery...We are all behind you every step of the way!

I love my Marine,

I just wanted to thank you and all who submit letters. I feel that I am often fighting the verbal war here on the home front. I am a wife of a retired GySgt. and I work with a lot of younger men who unfortunately seem to feel that if you leave well enough alone, that you will have peace. They are those who claim to support the troops but not the war and unfortunately are blinded by all the bulls*%t they hear in the media everyday. I can honestly say that I did not vote for Bush but after 9/11 was very thankful that he was, in fact, our president. I supported his decision to go to war against Iraq and I still do. I find myself having to defend my position everyday with the young people with whom I work. It can be very frustrating for me at times, and often sickens me that they just don't get it. But I show up everyday wearing one of my many Marine Corp shirts, armed with ammunition from all of the newsletters I read. I want to say thanks for keeping me properly informed so that eventually I can help these young men "see the light". My thoughts and prayers are with you all. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHRAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jerri Woolen
Wife of Ret. GySgt. Richard Woolen

Dear Sgt. Grit,
First thanks for the timely delivery of my most recent order.

I would like to respond to Major Bresnahan’s letter from Iraq regarding Vietnam veterans and how we were treated.

Your kind words about us old timers, I guess 53 is an old timer, is appreciated. Although in a different clime and place, your being in a combat zone brings to life what warriors do. We fight for the cause put before us by our commander and chief and officers and do what we must to accomplish our mission. Our time is past and if those wounds of the past have not healed for my brothers and sisters of that time they may never. As you will do we carry our experiences forward in life and they shape a great deal of what we do, good or bad. While our great nation has realized it may be the struggle they object to they have come to realize the men and women who go off to the fight for our freedom are not the problem. Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom have pulled from a base of military not done to a great extent in the past. The reservists are playing a very large role in today’s war on terrorism and the people of our nation are having their loved ones plucked right out from under them. This I believe is also fueling the surge in recognizing our troops. Unfortunately our active military is taken for granted which is wrong but that is how soft people are. There is also one group of people who have vowed to make sure current era service men and women are not forgotten, sworn at or spit upon when they return home. And that is the Vietnam Veteran. I am proud of my time as a grunt and radio operator in Vietnam and what we were able to accomplish and the people we helped. Politics lost freedom for the South Vietnamese, not the Marines. As the saying goes, we were winning when I left. Pity the poor soul who should dare spit on the uniform of one our service people as there are over 500,000 service men and women who would respond.

Remember this sir, you, your men and all the other Marines fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are the finest Marines the Corps has ever produced and you do us proud and allow those of us who’s time has passed to swell with pride when we see the work you are doing today. My future son in law, my son’s best friend and our neighbor across the street are all currently training at Camp Pendleton for deployment in August to Iraq. They are good men, they are Marines and will carry on our proud tradition and bring honor to us all.

In conclusion sir I must say NO, thank you sir!
Semper Fi,
Cpl. Tom Gillespie
Hotel Co. 2nd Bn. 1st Mar. 1st Mar. Div. Da Nang 70 - 71

"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn."
--George Washington

"Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."
--Thomas Paine

"To expect bad people not to do wrong is madness, for he who expects this desires an impossibility. But to allow people to behave so to others, and to expect them not to do you any wrong, is irrational and tyrannical."
--Marcus Aurelius

"And let us all renew our commitment. Renew our pledge to day by day, person by person, make our country and the world a better place to live. Then when the nations of the world turn to us and say, 'America, you are the model of freedom and prosperity.' We can turn to them and say, 'you ain't seen nothing, yet!'"
--Ronald Reagan

I wanted to share something I just found out after 20 years. I always knew my wife's uncle was in the Army in Korea. We shared a drink or two on many occasions during Memorial Day and Veterans Day and on the 50th anniversary of Korea, I made him a present of an inscribed KaBar. He realized I was the only one in his family (immediate or otherwise) that was ever in the service. He didn't speak much about it until he saw one of my Marine Business cards I got from Gunny Grit and wanted something made up for him. Without going into too much detail I found out he was with the 45th Thunderbirds which led me to research more and found he was fighting for old Baldy, all 5 battles. He them was sent to fight at Pork Chop Hill and was sent home before Heartbreak Ridge. When I talked to him about it, his only reply was that he didn't know names but "there were a lot of hills." He didn't offer any more info of what went on. I didn't ask, I read about it and knew what was done and how many we lost.

I learned NOT to dismiss the Army service simply because it is the Army. I only really knew about Chesty and Frozen Chosin. Old Baldy and Pork Chop Hill were very bloody battles and regardless if it is the Army, I won't be so quick to think Marines are the only people who fight. nuff said. Greg Bourlotos USMC 71-75

Sgt Grit,
I just started getting your newsletter when my boy went to Iraq this past March. He's still there, and I miss the h-ll out of him and I can't say I don't worry but I don't tell him that. He has enough on his plate. I wanted to say, your newsletter is great and I love listening to the old-timer's stories, as well as the not-so-old-timer's stories. I was a Woman Marine (or BAM, as my Grandpa used to tease me; BAM: "Broad Assed Marine"). Women's boot was the toughest thing I've ever done except have both my kids with no pain medicine. I have never forgotten my DI's; my favorite was Sgt Straub, who by the way was not necessarily nice but she didn't spit in my face when she screamed at me...
Thanks for the uplifting newsletter, all of us Marine Moms have had some dark days since our boys have been "over there". My son is a welder but he volunteered to go on patrol, and that has me losing sleep at night as you can imagine. Still I am so proud of him, and proud of all our troops over there.
Proud Marine Mom of Lcpl Bryan Turner, 1st Mar Div, 3rd AA BN, Fallujah.
Semper Fi!
Rosalie Turner-Young

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I just want to thank everyone serving our country right now especially our Marines. My boyfriend is getting ready to be deployed to Iraq within the next month, and it makes me feel a whole lot better reading other people's stories and comments. I pray everyday for the men and women already over there and for there safe return home. It has hit me really hard in recent times when a Sgt. I grew up with was injured in a convoy accident. Luckily he survived, but his 3 other fellow marines were not as lucky. I read about people protesting war all of the time, and like other people who have wrote into you, it makes me very upset. Until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes, they should not comment. It is a very difficult time, and we are waiting to get married when he gets back sometime next year. I pray everyday for all the families and loved ones who are going through the same struggle.
God Bless!

Dear Sgt. Grit:
As we did with the Vietnam War veterans that asked, Star Support Military Group is looking for names, email addys, snail mail addys for Gulf War veterans to write them a thank you letter for their service and sacrifices.

If any Gulf War veterans would like us to do this for them and keep their names in our files for future members to write them also, please email me at or, or snail mail at 3314 Camvic Terrace, #6, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211.

Thank you for your service to our country and thank you very much for letting us thank you.
Patricia A. Gunn

"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824

Is there a website where mothers and fathers write in to express their pride in their conscientious objector sons?

Is there a website that advertises reunions of those who fled to Canada during the Vietnam War?

Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing jackets, pins, t-shirts, or baseball caps proudly proclaiming similar sentiments.

Am I missing something?

Mike Farrell
First Sergeant of Marines
(retired from active duty)

Sgt. Grit,
I would like to pass our condolences on to the Conde family. Having lost a brother in Vietnam I personally understand their pain. My wife and I both served our Corps and we understand his commitment. Having a son serving today we share their anxiety.
May god bless.
The Allen Family

I just wanted to tell you about son who is a Marine and a CWO2 in Iraq who lost his friend on May 31. They were just trying to have a down day playing touch football, listening to country music and talking about home. L/Cpl Dustin Sides was killed by hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, later that day. L/Cpl Sides was from Yakima, WA. and only 22 years old. All our men and women no matter what branch of the service they are in deserve our support and/or prayers.
Sincerely, Joy
Proud Marine Mom

What a beautiful, heartwarming poem. I was all tears when I finished reading the poem. Is there any way that you can get in touch with that "Marine" in my behalf to thank him for me. I have a son who is a Marine who fought in Iraq. He was just 20 years old when he left. He had his 21st birthday there. When he came home, I looked into his eyes and saw a different boy...he had become a man...the hard way. Although he was out there for approximately six months, to me it seemed like a lifetime. He experienced and saw things that I could never imagine. It took him a while for him to get back to living a "normal" life; but even now, he's not the same nor will he ever be. I thank God every day for bringing my son home, unlike other families who have lost their loved ones. My heart goes out to them.

So you see...I can relate with the Marine who wrote that awesome poem. God bless him and his family and God bless all our military men and women past and present.

Semper Fi --
Lillian Cruz
Colonia, NJ (Proud mom of a Marine)

My son, Joshua, graduated from high school this past May. I planned on driving him to college in the fall. Instead I will be headed to South Carolina sometime in the winter. He enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corp. He will be entering boot camp sometime from Sept through Dec. I had a very hard time with his decision. I researched all that I could on the Corp. I stopped anyone with a Marine uniform on and/or any type of Marine attire. I came across your website. I can not begin to tell you how thankful I am for your newsletter. It has brought me relief, comfort and pride. I am so proud of my son, and I know that I will continue to be. I am proud to be a mother of a U.S. Marine and feel like I am a part of a very large, closely knit family. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I now understand why he choose to take this path. To protect his country, family and friends. What more could a mother ask for. Thank you to all the U.S. Marines - past, present and future. I know my son will be your brother and make you proud. He will make a great Marine. I have two more sons, I hope they will follow in his footsteps.
Camille Graffeo
New Orleans, Louisiana

Dear Friend:
Next year marks the 60th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima. Next week, on July 7, 2004 my uncle Raymond Leonard Azbell and aunt Helen Marguerite Claypool Azbell will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. Fifty nine years ago uncle Leonard served on LST-642 at the battle of Iwo Jima landing the 5th Marines. He was 31 years old, married with two young daughters. We know everything that happened because uncle Leonard kept a diary during his entire enlistment. I have just finished electronically scanning that notebook and will be presenting it to the Library Of Congress this month. In his notes, uncle Leonard emphasized on almost every page the importance of getting or not getting mail that day. Mail was a very important part of their lives, even during the long battle for Iwo.

Uncle Leonard and Aunt "Micky" will receive an anniversary greeting from President Bush and Mrs. Bush.

Friends and family from all over the United States will assemble next Saturday in Lancaster, Ohio to celebrate. I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to help me "flood" their mailbox with greetings on their 70th anniversary. Tell a friend. Pass the word.

Please help me in wishing them congratulations to:

Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Raymond Azbell
3790 Tschopp Road
Lancaster, Ohio 32130

Uncle Leonard was 90 years old on February 8, 2004. Aunt "Micky" will be 88 years old on July 29, 2004. She still drives here new Buick, and goes bowling regularly.

Thanks a million for your help.
Thomas F. Saltz and Linda Claypool Saltz
Richmond, Virginia

I am the mother of a Marine currently stationed in Pensacola, Florida and have adopted a Marine who is serving in Iraq in a weapons platoon. I appreciate the avenue you provide for the Marine family to express opinions, emotions, and record memories of honor and courage.
I learned yesterday of a challenge a Guardsman from New Mexico is facing. After being in Iraq for more than 14 months, he came home Tuesday to bury his wife and 7 year old son. Remember National Guard Staff Sgt. Carlos Romero in your prayers.

Semper Fi ~ Do or Die
Melinda Scott, proud mother of PFC Allen D. Scott III

Interesting read:

One of our young Marines, who served in Iraq and was severely wounded, is now at Bethesda Hospital in MD. He is from our local area near Cincinnati, OH and his family has requested that people send him cards or letters to cheer him up... They say it really helps him!! It would be great if Everyone here at the GRIT Network would send him a card or letter.... SEND TO;

L/Cpl Daniel J. Hamberg
c/o 8901 Wisconscin Ave
Building #10 Ward 5 E
Bethesda Maryland 20889-5601

Thanks and Semper FI
Bill George
USMC 66-70 RVN Class of 67-68
9th Marines

"Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint."
--Alexander Hamilton

My highest respect and regards to all of you Marines out there...and everyone who is serving our beloved Country...past, present or future. Thank you for serving and protecting us all. You are more appreciated than you know...much more than the liberal, biased American media is allowing the general American public to hear. My most sincere appreciation goes out to your spouses and families as well...they all sacrifice much and serve nobly "behind the scenes".

My name is Lynette Renee Gibson and I am honored and blessed to be a career Marine wife. My husband is Gunny Bert Gibson. He was chosen for recruiting duty for a period of three years in the Missouri Ozarks.

During that time, we were blessed to meet many wonderful young men and women (and their families) from the seven counties he had to recruit out of...and one of these former poolees/recruits we were blessed to know was Cpl. Dallas Kerns, who was one of three Marines who died in Iraq on Monday, July 5th, at approximately 0900, according to what we were told by the Springfield USMC reservists.

His body arrived back here in the United States and was taken home to the Missouri Ozarks, to the city of Springfield.

His funeral was held on Tuesday, July 13th, 2004. He was laid to rest in the Missouri Veterans Cemetery.

I have seen many changes in our beloved Corps in the past years, but that bond...that beautiful Brotherhood you wonderful Marines share...remains the same. You are a very special, unique kind of family to one another. With this in mind, I thought you would like to see the eulogy that was written in Cpl. Dallas Kerns' honor by a Brother Marine who knew and cared about him.. and that you would be able to learn something about his precious life and who he was during his short time on this earth. He was your Brother Marine...and I thought if anyone would want to know what was to be shared about him in his honor...his family of Marines would, as well as any parent of a service member... or any concerned citizen.

Please pray for his poor mother Connie and his brother Chris. When you read the eulogy written by Gunny Gibson, you will understand a wee bit more just how deep and intense her grief is.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. May God bless and protect all of you and may He bless and protect our troops and our beloved Country and may we all be a blessing to Him!
With My Deepest Respect,
Lynette Renee Gibson

"Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less."
--Robert E. Lee

I had an old friend. He was a former SSGT in the 'Mighty Corps', as he called it. I used to mow his lawn, trim his hedges, and sweep his patio. Then he'd offer me a drink, his lemonade was my favorite. We'd sit and talk in his wicker chairs. I'd listen to his war stories of Vietnam, and he'd listen to my childhood fantasies and recall his own. Its awkward thinking about what good friends we were. Not like a neighbor, but like a father. And now, when I look upon the face of any War-Veteran, I feel he's watching me. As if waiting for my turn in the Corps so he can guide through. I feel we all have a Veteran-Guardian Angel, watching over us. And I just can't help but add in my prayers, a thank-you to them forgiving me the freedom to pray at all. So I say to you now, lets give a Grand OOH-RAH to the Veterans of our country.

James Algeo,
A U.S.M.C. hopeful

Sgt Grit,
The story about L/Cpl Greager from Memphis TN needs to be shared with all Marines. This past Saturday 7/10/04 I attend his funeral along with over 1000 other people. Listed are the reason that Tim was just not another Marine killed in Iraq. 1-won a bronze medal in Junior Olympics National Tae Kwon Do Championship when he was 11
2-by age 13 he was an Eagle scout earning 20 more merit badges than is necessary
3-He was battalion commander of his high school ROTC Unit
4-He joined the Civil Air Patrol at 14
5- He graduated with a GPA higher than a 4.0
6- He had a full-tuition Marine Corps scholarship to the Citadel
7- After his 2nd year at the Citadel he gave up his scholarship to enlist in the Corps
8- He said God was calling him to enlist he loved his freedom, he needed to fight

His dad's quote "He loved his country more than anything else. He just wanted to be a Marine. It would be nice if every American had this same attitude.

Carl W. Porter

So, ladies, you think you have what it takes to be a Marine wife, huh?

Just what gives you the right to believe in anything, much less believing you should be allowed to be married to one of the most efficient killing machines that Man has ever created?

For that matter, what woman in her right mind wants a killing machine around the house anyway?

Well ladies, gather round. I'm about to enlighten you with what I learned the hard way.

You see, I almost did the most stupid thing I could ever have done; I almost gave up on MY Marine!

I was at first attracted to the marvelous macho cock-sure man that was to become my husband because he was everything I held high esteem for. He had served his country honorably in a time of great strife, and was all the things I respected in a man.

My father was a veteran, and since I loved my Daddy dearly, it was easy to fall in love with this magnificent creature that stole my heart in a heart beat.

Talk about love at first sight! Whew! I couldn't believe my good fortune! I had finally found my Prince Charming, Don Quixote, my Knight in Shining Armor, and Superman, all rolled into one!

After 6 months of intensive basic training, (courtship, to you mere civilians) I was fully prepared to marry this man. Or at least, so I thought!

May to September were heady months. We laughed, we played, we talked, we loved, we did everything with each other. No girl could ever be so happy. This was the stuff that dreams are made of. Every day I would wake up to find that my Marine, who had already arisen at oh dark thirty, had made my coffee, prepared my breakfast, and was leering lewdly at my sleepy feminine form anytime he brought breakfast into the bedroom for me. Each day would bring vast new pleasures as we grew together.

But then one day an unforeseen event occurred, nothing that we could have prevented, but devastating to my husband. My darling, devoted, loving, caring husband disappeared. He bunkered down and sandbagged the entrance. The mine field he lay around his defensive position was impassable, and communications went to strict radio silence. I didn't have any idea what was going on in there, only that it appeared that he didn't want me anymore. Now, I have never been trained to endure the hardships that Marines have, so I began to think the worst. And the more I thought, the worse it got. I finally let it all build up on me and did the only thing I knew how to do well. I ran away.

I figured that somehow I had not measured up to the task of being a Marine Wife so I entered counseling. This was the first smart thing I ever did. I started to find out why I let things build up on me. Why I was afraid to face the unexplained. In other words, I started to learn who I truly was. And I didn't like that person at all. I knew I would have to rebuild me, and make me into someone I could love before I could ever expect anyone else to love me. Silly me. I thought my Marine had let me go, so I was trying to fix me up for someone else to love someday.

Then the first air strike came in low off the deck. My Marine assaulted my defenses with a ferocity I had never seen before. He hit me in every weak spot, hammered my strong points, kept me ducked undercover while he outflanked my position. I never knew what hit me.

Before you get the idea that my Marine physically abused me, forget it. That man is the most honorable S.O.B. I have every had to deal with. What I mean is, he collected all the intelligence on his target, knew my exact location, (2000 miles away from him) knew my immediate intentions, all my capabilities, and outfoxed me at every turn. I was in tears because his incoming fire was so accurate. I hadn't understood how much he truly loved me. Now I was seeing his righteous indignation and I was ashamed for ever having doubted his motives in the first place. I had committed the unforgivable sin against my Marine; I ran out on him during the first firefight. How could I ever expect forgiveness for that from a Marine?

After the smoke and dust and stench settled, I began to see something I had never expected. He was still there! He hadn't given up on me. He wouldn't let go of me. He is the most tenacious bulldog I could ever imagine. Just because I had given up didn't mean I was lost after all. He started to negotiate an honorable peace with me. He gave me ground that I had no idea he would relinquish. He detailed his reasons for finding reasons to forgive me. He explained in great detail his expectations and the things he was willing to turn over to me after the cessation of hostilities. He didn't want to conquer me, he wanted to empower me. Give me HIS strength to face MY demons with until I had learned how to face them on my own.

And, in the process he discovered his own weaknesses, and showed me his courage again by humbling himself and seeking corrective action on his own. My lean mean green fighting machine was HUMAN! Who would ever have guessed?

All I had done was to create a god that really didn't exist. I had placed him on a pedestal so high that I actually put him out of my own reach. When MY fantasy crumbled apart, when he was deeply entrenched trying to find a safe route to attack from a different direction, and all I saw was that he had disappeared, I pulled up my panties and ran away from the most protective fighting spirit on this earth. A United States Marine!

The ensuing surrender was the most exciting reconciliation imaginable. I can only now start to breathe again! WHOOPIE!

So ladies, before you think you've got what it takes to be a member of the EVEN FEWER, the Wives of Marines, put this message in your sea bag. You show your Marine the respect he deserves. You maintain communications at all times, until he deems it necessary to go to full black out. When that happens, you just wait. He'll be back, and he'll have all the firing solutions in hand to overcome whatever drove him undercover in the first place. You keep it in your heart that you have the most loyal, honorable, courageous, faithful companion outside a dog that you could ever possibly find on this Earth, and you do EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER to earn that privilege. After all, YOU deserve the very best, don't you? Make sure YOU are the very best too. Your Marine deserves it. I sure do know now that MY Marine does!

Semper Fi!
Mrs. Cindy L. Brown Proud Marine Wife, First Class

God Bless America
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

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